Atlanta Public Schools officially kicked off the 2019 football season on July 23 at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, as head varsity coaches and dozens of football players from all 11 APS high schools discussed their team’s chances this season.
Consider this: Last year, for the second consecutive season, six APS schools advanced to the state playoffs: Carver (seventh straight season in the state playoffs), Douglass (won 10 games for the first time since 2004), Maynard Jackson (four of the last five seasons in the state playoffs), Mays (nine of the last 10 seasons in the state playoffs), South Atlanta (first time in the state playoffs since 1994), and Washington (first time in the state playoffs since 2012).
While showcasing five members of his team during the July 23 event, Derrick Avery, head football coach at Booker T. Washington High School, praised two outstanding seniors: Mahlon West and Vachon Raye, who are currently competing to become the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of their graduating class. In addition, three of the other players have earned a 3.5 GPA or higher, scored competitively on the ACT and SAT test scores, and garnered numerous scholarships.
“These students show talent both on and off the field,” Coach Avery said. “As a coach, I’m most proud of these players’ academic standing and the fact that they’ve shown a lot of character to reach their athletic level.”
APS Athletic Director Jasper Jewell said the annual Football Media Day is especially designed for each high school coach to showcase those top players who’ve shown commitment and worked hard in the off season.
“This means a lot for our kids, because we’re right here in the inner city, and APS is the epicenter of the city Atlanta. And for us to have this relationship with the College Football Hall of Fame is huge,” Jewell said.
“Our students walk in the door and they really can see their dreams right before their very eyes. Not only do they get the opportunity to take advantage of media day, they also get an opportunity to tour the facility as well. They see what they would like to be and the pattern they’d like to follow if they choose to pursue an athletic program. For these kids to get this experience means the world to me.”